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看新聞學英文 Battered by Economic Crisis, Greeks Turn to Barter Networks


The author introduced to us a network system which appears in Volos, Greece. It is a form of local economy, which encompasses includes a barter network and alternative currency.

It is an internet-based network; people register online and get a new account to store TEM, which means local alternative currency in Greek. This kind of networks spreads around the country.

Two weeks ago, it obtained a legal status. The officials generally encouraged this alternative form of local development.

 The author indicated some reasons why barter networks have become popular in Greece. Firstly, radically changing economic landscape makes the legal currency extremely unstable. The network system prevents the members from unpredictable risks in euro currency. Secondly, the services provided by the networks fill the gaps left by government to help people in need. Greece’s public sector is big but ineffective. Thirdly, the system has a psychological dimension. It is based on the ‘trust’ in each other in the small group, which gives people a sense of contribution.

Since people generally believe that the economic situation of Greece is going to be worse, they expect more changes like this and they are optimistic about them this kind of networks.


Word sharing

  Barter is the first word I would like to share. I didn’t know this word before, and it appeared in the title of the news, so it is the most important key word in the article. It is a noun, which means a system of trading without using money. Rampant is another word that attracts me. If something bad, like crime or disease, is rampant, it is prevailing and obdurate. I chose this word because the phrase in the article:’ Rampant consumerism and easy credits’ pungently points out the core of today’s economic crisis. The last word I would like to share is swap, which is almost equivalent to exchange. I like it because it is short but versatile. You can swap information, goods, roles, and seats. Since it can be used in so many occasions, we had better have it in our vocabulariesy bank.


Response to the article

  It comes to me that a small potato can make big difference. Two of the founders of the group in Volos are an unemployed electrician and a retired high school teacher, but their group plays an important role in restoring the local economy. Incidentally, the article mentioned the unthinkable carpool trend in Athens. People flooded in Twitter to quest for carpools when bus and subway workers went on strikes in Athens. The two events evince that internet social networks enable people to adapt to the rapid changing surrounding quickly, and people get used to turning to the internet to solve problems, rather than officials. In this aspect, technologies really make our world a better place.


Besides, the barter network suggested me that people have fed up with rampant consumerism and easy credits, and fed up with worrying the fluctuating number in their bank accounts. People are eager to return to simple lifestyle, which values relations between one another more than money.



Moreover, the news makes me to reconsider what currency is. Money itself is valueless. It is the ‘trust’ it retains that is valuable. The bankers and stock brokers have ruined the trust amongst people. In the crisis, people realized how vulnerable the world economy is, and how dangerous it is being connected with all kinds of potentially flawed financial products, so the world economy is not trustworthy.   

 Word list 


1.   Batter Verb

  to hit someone or something again and again, in a way that hurts someone or causes damage:

  As a child she was battered by her father.

2. Barter noun

  a system of exchanging goods and services for other goods and services rather than using money:

  Trading was carried out under a barter system.

2.   Seamstress noun

 a woman whose job is sewing and making clothes:

 The old seamstress could no longer do her job because her eye was going blind.

4. Voucher noun

  a ticket that can be used instead of money for a particular purpose:

The voucher can be used at most major supermarkets.

5. Solidarity noun

loyalty and general agreement between all the people in a group, or between different groups because they all have a shared aim:

Solidarity has been appealed by the president as the country was attacked by its vengeful neighbor.

6. Exponential adj.

describes a rate of increase which becomes quicker and quicker as the thing that increases becomes larger:

We are looking for exponential growth in our investment.

7. Drachma noun

the standard unit of money used in Greece before the euro:

Whether euro will be replaced by drachma in Greece is hard to tell.

8. Scenario noun

a situation that could possibly happen:

Imagine a scenario where only 20% of people have a job.

9. Optician noun

someone who tests people's eyes and sells glasses in a shop:

It requires more legislation to pin down the duty of opticians.

10. Counterfeit verb

to copy something exactly in order to deceive people :

They admitted counterfeiting documents.

11. En masse adv

if people do something en masse, they do it together:

The management team resigned en masse.

12. Austerity noun

when a government has a deliberate policy of trying to reduce the amount of money it spends:

Greece’s government considered IMF-backed austerity measures the last line of defense to rescue its devastating economy.

13. Evade verb

 to avoid paying money that you ought to pay, for example tax:

Employers will always try to find ways to evade tax.

14. Adamant adj.

determined not to change your opinion or a decision that you have made:

She begged me to change my mind, but I remained adamant.

15. Step into the breach Idiom

 to do work that someone else is not able or not willing to do:

Other institutions are stepping into the breach to make loans where banks will not.

16. Craigslist noun

Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigsrésumés, and discussion forums. –wiki

17. Bustle verb

to move around quickly, looking very busy:

Madge bustled round the room, putting things away.

18. Bergamot noun

also called bergamot orange. a small Asian spiny tree, Citrus bergamia, having sour pear-shaped fruit.

I am allergic to bergamot-scented perfume my sister wears.

19. Rampant adj.

if something bad, such as crime or disease, is rampant, there is a lot of it and it is very difficult to control:

Pickpocketing is rampant in the downtown area.

20. Nascent adj.

coming into existence or starting to develop:

People around the world are celebrating the country's nascent democracy.

21. Swap verb

to give something to someone and get something in return [= exchange]:

Do you want to swap umbrellas?

22. Transaction noun

a business deal or action, such as buying or selling something:

The bank charges a fixed rate for each transaction.

23. Varietal noun

A wine made principally from one variety of grape and carrying the name of that grape:

Of all the varietals of red wine, my favorite is Pinot Noir.             

24. Carpool noun

An arrangement whereby several participants or their children travel together in one vehicle, the participants sharing the costs and often taking turns as the driver:

Carpool is a wonderful choice of communication because it saves both money and environment. 

25. Uncharted adj.

a situation or activity that you have never experienced or tried before:

This new project will take us into uncharted territory.